Or, The Healing Power of The Normal Breath
Breathing – A Vital Process
Not everyone is aware how important is to breathe well. This is also due to the fact that our breathing is controlled by our subconscious. It is an automatic process to which we don’t pay attention anymore in our daily life.
In the Chinese health techniques called Chi Kung (Qigong) it is considered a very important process and therefore, both the great masters, and the regular practicioners give it their due attention.
In order to be aware of our breath and understand its importance it is vital to understand what happens when we breathe.
Breath Is Life Force (Chi or Qi)
The idea is simple: breath is life; no more breath means no more life.
While we breathe, we bring oxygen, plus other substances and energies inside of us, and when we exhale, we get rid of carbon dioxyde, but not only that.
Oxygen is needed by our body for its smooth functionning, including the burning and transformation of substances, minerals and vitamins while energizing the body, and it’s also needed in other internal processes.
Carbon dioxyde resulting from this burning processes needs to be eliminated, otherwise it poisons our bodies.
I Breathe, Therefore I Am Healthy?
All is nice and dandy so far, but, even if all people are breathing, few are really healthy.
This is due to the fact that their breathing is not complete, not deep, but superficial.
And the first thing we must do if we want to breathe properly is to understand the breathing process and what is involved in it.
The Mechanics of Breathing, In A Nutshell
Everybody know that breath is done using the lungs (and the skin, but that is not the topic of our article).
The lungs are inside the thoracic cavity which has a reduced capacity to expand and contract. In order to use the maximum potential of our lungs we need to use our thoracic diaphragm, which is a muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal one.
When our thoracic diaphragm is used correctly, it will press on the internal organs in the abdominal cavity and make space for the lungs to dilate and to bring more air and oxygen into the body, thus increasing our respiratory capacity.
The Major Benefits of A Correct Breathing
Dilating and contracting our lungs inside certain paramenters, with the help of our diaphragm, has multiple benefits.
By pressing on the organs in our abdomen, we practically massage them, helping them relax. We actually massage and bring more nutrients to them using our breathing muscle.
We can thus relax our liver, stomach, spleen and pancreas, our intestines, kidneys and adrenal glands. Once relaxed, they will regulate the activity of the body systems they govern from an energy standpoint.
Also, because we use our intercostal muscles more intensely, we can create a beneficial pressure on the thoracic cavity, and on the heart, thymus, lymph knots in the armpits. This will also help:
– eliminate tensions in the chest
– improve immunity
– relax the heart (and our overall circulation)
– detox the lungs and heart by improving their oxygenation
– ventilation and oxygenation of the brain.
And all these benefits you can reap only by breathing! The intelligence of our body is amazing; unfortunately, we don’t make time for it, we don’t give it enough attention and care.
Chi Kung “Respiratory Experiment”
You can try the following experiment: in the evening before going to sleep, lay down on your bed with a pillow under your head and raise the knees (either by placing your feet on the bed, or by placing another pillow under the knees). In this way you’ll be better able to follow your belly’s movements.
Do some normal breaths, deep, and from your belly, for 18 – 36 times.
On the inhale, expand your belly, on the exhale, contract it.
If you get a bit dizzy, stop and do the exercise again another time, and start with less repetitions (9 – 18).
When you do this every night, this breath will help you:
– get rid of tension (physical or energetic)
– rest better
– give your body ideal circumstances to regenerate during sleep.
Enjoy exercising this breath and go here for the second part of this article, about the benefits of reverse breathing.